“Relearning the game by its original rules and then trying my hand at refereeing was hysterical. For me, the strangest rule is that you can’t dribble; you have to shoot or pass once you catch the ball.” – Toronto Raptors star and NBA All-Star DeMar DeRozan

 

Getting excited about the return of the NBA season also means remembering the great games, players and seasons of the past. And Foot Locker is celebrating Throwback Thursday with a look back at basketball’s storied Canadian history.

The retailer kicked off its latest year-long partnership with Toronto Raptors star and NBA All-Star DeMar DeRozan, designed to drive excitement and build awareness of how the game of hoops owes its existence in part to our northern neighbor.

Today, Foot Locker debuted “Original Basketball” digitally on its YouTube channel. The short film features players from CIA Bounce – the top Canadian basketball program with a number of alums gracing the ranks of the NBA – adopting the 13 original rules of the game as created in 1892 by Canadian-American physical educator, James Naismith. After teaching the players the rules, DeRozan officiated the game, keeping the play true to its original Canadian roots.

“Basketball is back and I’m partnering with Foot Locker to get fans here in Canada excited,” said DeRozan. “Relearning the game by its original rules and then trying my hand at refereeing was hysterical. For me, the strangest rule is that you can’t dribble; you have to shoot or pass once you catch the ball. The ball is really different too, not to mention the basket!”

“Having a partner that personifies all that Canadian basketball stands for is perfect for Foot Locker,” said Patrick Walsh, vice president of marketing for Foot Locker North America. “DeMar has the support of a whole country behind him, and showcasing the best Nike products available at Foot Locker makes him the ideal guy for the job.”

The spot also features an assortment of Nike gear, including the Nike Kobe A.D., Nike React Hyperdunk 2017 Flyknit and Nike Dri-FIT basketball apparel. It was created by worldwide agency BBDO.

Photo and video courtesy Foot Locker